“We believe we can play with them,” Jones said. “Not looking at the jerseys. You know who is over there and there are superstars. When I first got called up I was like, ‘There’s Alex Rodriguez, he seems like he’s 7-5.’
“But over the years, you learn, you can play with these guys. They have been the elite of the game. But you can play with them. You wouldn’t be here if you couldn’t. That is half the battle, if you believe you can compete at this level. You have to have the right mindset. We do have to give a lot of credit to our manager. He doesn’t tolerate any bull and that’s what you need.”
The Orioles are 7-7 against the Yankees this year, but they are 7-3 over the last 10 games vs. New York.
“We know this series is important. Every game left is important. Every pitch, every out, every second we are here is something we have to take advantage of,” Jones said.
But even with another big series at hand, Jones said the mood in the Orioles clubhouse hasn’t changed.
“We’re just chillin’,” he said. “It seems like it’s May. Our bodies tell us it’s September. But there is no pressure on anyone in this clubhouse. We just want to play the game.”
He said the next several days will be very big for all Baltimore sports fans.
“Look at the whole weekend,” Jones said. “We’ve got Cal’s ceremony tonight. We’ve got a great weekend of baseball and that leads to Monday night and the Ravens’ season opener. Then we have a tough series with Tampa. There will be some exciting games in this city for the next week every day.”
Jones said he can remember the day, 17 years ago on this date, when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record with No. 2,131.
“I was 10,” Jones said. “I remember watching the game, paying attention to his streak and starting to like the game around then. I remember him going deep that day, so I might need to honor that. But we just want to win.”